Updated: Jun 20
As you’re planning your gender-neutral wedding, you may find the need for gender-neutral wedding terms to describe your wedding party. As we stray from traditional trends, such as all girl bridesmaids and all male groomsmen, we have a need for less gendered titles. Gender-free titles can be helpful whether or not your party includes gender non-conforming people. While it gives room to include people who do not identify with one end of the gender binary, it also helps you avoid traditional stereotypes that many weddings perpetuate.
In order to make weddings accessible and open to everyone, whether that be queer weddings, gay weddings, or trans weddings, gender-neutral wedding terms must be present when discussing and planning your special day!
Why Is It Important to Use Gender Neutral Wedding Party Terms?
Inclusivity in wedding planning is extremely important, because we want everyone in the wedding to feel welcomed at the event. From the wedding party, to your guests, and even the wedding vendors.
Still Poetry Photography values inclusion and a gender euphoric experience for everyone. Whether it's for a large wedding, happy elopement, or bridal boudoir session, Still Poetry Photography’s goal is for everyone to feel safe on the happiest day of their lives.
As a trans person, it’s extremely important for me to work with someone I know also understands the queer experience. I would want a photographer who is aware of my needs, and makes my comfort level a high priority. Still Poetry Photography is a queer-owned photography business that makes your wedding day safe and special, regardless of who you love.
Wedding Party Titles for Non-Binary Couples
If you’re non-binary like me, you often come to a dilemma when so many titles and terms are structured around the gender binary. You shouldn’t have to deal with this stress on your wedding day! This day is about you and the people you love celebrating an intimate ceremony. If you’re planning your special day as a non-binary, or gender non-conforming person, you may not feel comfortable going with “groom” or “bride.” In that case, here are some options that might feel more comfortable for you:
Marrier - the term “marrier” simply means “one that marries” or “one that enters into the married state.” It does not imply gender in its definition at all, making it the perfect, neutral, fluid term that could be how you chose to identify during your wedding. It also works well if you’re polyamarous and aren’t a part of just a two-person “couple.”
Nearlywed - the word “nearlywed” is a great term to describe someone who is engaged. It is free from binary assumption and could be used to describe anyone ready or about to be married!
Celebrant - the label “celebrant” gives us a little more wiggle room, because it could be used to describe any person celebrating any event, not necessarily specific to someone attending a wedding or getting married. Not only is it gender-neutral, but is a word you could use to describe any person at the wedding if you so chose.
Partner - “Partner” is also a great choice for a gender-neutral term to use besides “bride” or “groom.” It’s not gender specific and carries so much intimacy and loyalty with the word. Calling someone your life partner, whoever they are, is no small vow.
Spouse - “Spouse” is also an option that we often forget about. It’s a very common word, but can easily slip our mind! It can also be an amazing name for the person you’ve just married.
Wedding Party Titles for Bridal Parties With Mixed Genders
During your wedding, you want to stand beside the most influential and important people in your life. If you’re a bride, those people might not all be women, and the reverse is true for grooms! So let’s talk about titles to use with parties of mixed genders! It may even be a mix of multiple genders or gender types in your non-binary bridal party, so we need to find the right words with how to identify everyone at our wedding. Here are some titles for mixed-gendered parties:
Bridesmates - Changing the word from “bridesmaids” to “bridesmates” eliminates the assumption that it is a party of all women. Instead, it’s simply a gender-neutral party that the bride chooses to have on her wedding day. And it isn’t too different from bridesmaids, so it’s fairly easy to make the swap.
Groomsmates - This title does the same as “bridesmates,” where it eliminates the “men” usually accompanied at the end, getting rid of the expectation that everyone on the groom’s side is collective “men.”
Bridal Party/Groom Party/Wedding Suite/Wedding Party - If the terms “bridesmates” and “groomsmates” don’t suit your style, simply addressing the group as “bridal party,” “groom party,” or “wedding suite” does the same job quite well. It clearly identifies who you’re talking about, to cut down on confusion, while remaining gender-neutral and not assuming genders in your wedding party.
Wedding Party Titles for Non-Binary People
If there are non-binary people in your wedding party, finding the terms that fit best for you is an important process, because everyone should feel respected and honored at your wedding. It’s also good to know gender-neutral terms to use to avoid misgendering people you may not know. Here are some wedding party titles for non-binary/gender non-conforming people:
Mate of Honor - This one is a personal favorite of mine! It’s gender-neutral and emphasizes the companionship between this person and the spouse. It’s a title that is an honor, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Queer of Honor/Gay of Honor - I absolutely love this term. This title is like “mate of honor” but with a little more queer flair!
Mx. - Lots of gender non-conforming people prefer the term Mx. (pronounced “mix”) instead of Mrs. or Mr. This term could be used at your wedding day to identify non-binary people, or people you may not know the gender of. It’s a great gender-neutral term to use and helpful to avoid misgendering at large events.
Bachelorx - This term is a spin-off if the word “bachelor” or “bachelorette.” It holds the same meaning of someone about to be married, but is gender neutral and can be used to refer to anyone regardless of their gender.
Attendant - “Attendant” is a great title to use to identify anyone at your wedding, whether it be someone in the wedding party, a guest, the photographer, the ring bearer, literally anyone at your wedding could be described with this title.
Wedding Party Titles for Same Sex Couples
For weddings with same-sex couples, there are many options of terms, titles, and phrases to use! Traditionally, weddings would consist almost always of a bride and groom, with groomsmen and bridesmaids. However, there are no groomsmen if there is no groom, and no bridesmaids if there is no bride. This change of practice demands a change of language! Let’s talk about words and phrases to use during weddings with same-sex couples.
Bridesmen/groomswomen- the terms bridesmen and groomswomen can be used to describe men in the bridal party or women in the groom’s party. Not every wedding is going to be binary or look a certain way! In order to describe men or women in the wedding party, try using the terms bridesmen and groomswomen.
“I now pronounce you married.” - When the officiant announces the marriage of the newlyweds, traditionally we would hear the phrase “you may now kiss the bride.” But what if there is no bride? What if the newlyweds want to go with a different term or phrase to announce their marriage? There are a couple of options to use, such as “I now pronounce you married.” This term doesn’t involve a bride or groom, which would be perfect for non-binary partners, or partners who wish to keep their gender unmentioned at the wedding.
“You may kiss your partner” - This saying mimics the original “you may now kiss the bride,” but uses partner instead to make it gender neutral. This would be a great term to use with same-sex couples. Even for hetero-presenting couples, it’s also a great option that avoids the gendered stereotype that men are the one perform the kiss and women are just the recipient. When you say “kiss your partner,” you’re inviting both people in the partnership to join in on the act of sealing the marriage.
Gender-Neutral Wedding Party Titles for Flower Girls and Ring Bearers
We all know the role of a little boy with the wedding rings walking down the aisle, or the young girl sprinkling flower petals to prepare for the bride. However, as we get more creative with flower carriers and ring bearers, we are seeing more variety in who takes on these roles. Whether it be girls in pretty dresses, grandmas, grown men, or non-binary friends, original titles don’t always fit these roles.
It’s also important to consider that some children who take on these roles don’t want to be assigned a specific gendered role. Here are some gender-neutral terms for traditionally called flower girls and ring bearers.
Flower child - this term is great for any little one taking on this part in your wedding. It doesn’t imply “girl” or “boy,” and takes the pressure off gendering someone who may not want to be gendered. However, this title is limited to younger individuals because of the word “child.” For someone older in your wedding party taking on this role, consider more options below!
Flower carrier/Petal Tosser - “Flower carrier” or “Petal Tosser” are great options because they both are gender-less as well as age-less! Some people may want to have older friends be the flower carrier at a wedding instead of sticking to the traditional roles of a younger child. These terms would be great to use in that circumstance.
Ring Carrier - Although this title is very close to the term “ring-bearer”, which is already gender-neutral, terms like “ring carrier,” “ring presenter” or even “junior attendant” provide more modern, less-traditional connotations. There are so many options to choose from in terms of what titles to use for attendants in your wedding party. It’s best to ask what terms people prefer to be called, to make sure everyone feels seen, respected, and appreciated.
Looking for a Queer-Inclusive Wedding Experience in Delaware?
Looking for a queer-inclusive wedding experience in Delaware? Still Poetry Photography is a woman, neurodivergent, queer, disabled-owned studio in Delaware that plans, coordinates, photographs, officiates, and records Delaware elopements. They also offer photography and videography for Delaware weddings! Choosing the right photographer for your wedding is a significant decision to make. You want someone who understands your needs, is willing to accommodate your concerns, and someone who is there to celebrate with you! Still Poetry Photography is the perfect Delaware elopement planner for your Delaware queer weddings, Delaware lesbian weddings, and more. If you’re planning an east coast queer wedding or elopement, contact Still Poetry Photography for more information!